What progress is being made with plans to trial the government's new social impact bond scheme in Westminster?
The government is asking investors to put cash into “social impact bonds” which would be used to fund intensive work with the most deprived families, with the most severe problems. The work would be done under a paid-by-results contract, with any profits going to the original investors.
Westminster may be one of the areas to trial social impact bonds. But what has happened so far? And what are the plans for the future? John Dimmer, Head of Policy at Westminster City Council gives this update:
“The City Council is working with the Cabinet Office to develop a social impact bond for families with multiple problems.
“The idea is that Cabinet Office raise funding from philanthropic investors to pay an external provider to deliver interventions that support families with multiple problems.
“The money would be paid back to the investors by way of a payment-by-results contract between the provider and public bodies that stand to benefit from improved outcomes, including reductions in the demand for services. This could include Westminster City Council, NHS Westminster, the police and government departments.
“The Council hopes to build on the work it has already done as part of its Family Recovery Programme, and find a way to fund the programme on a sustainable basis and to scale it up.
“The Cabinet Office has recently appointed consultants to work with Westminster City Council on how the payment-by-results agreement could be structured.
“It is still early days, and the Council with its partners is currently considering the outcomes and cohort that could form the focus of this work.
“The Council hopes to have made a decision by December on whether the model is feasible. If it is, the Council would then be seeking an external provider from the private or voluntary sector to deliver the interventions with a view to a contract start date in April 2012.”
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